Lamboy MED 5303 Critical Thinking and the Curriculum
Critical Thinkingand theCurriculumKatherine LamboyMED 5303Professor William Driskill
Rationale In an effort to attain the depth and complexity necessary to engage higher achieving students in the classroom, as well as encourage growth in lower or average performing students, Lighthouse Charter School has embarked on a mission to assimilate critical thinking activities and strategies into the curriculum on a daily basis. The hope is that operating in this manner becomes the norm for these students, instead of the exception.
What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking is more than just “thinking”. It is the act of consciously making connections between thoughts, to determine if something is logical or reasonable. Higher level questioning requires more synthesis and analysis from the students. Employing this routine, rather than just asking students to recall facts, can help students become more cognizant of their personal opinions. Teaching students to make inferences and predictions throughout reading can also help students strengthen such skills.
Integrating Critical Thinkinginto the Curriculum A number of strategies can be used to integrate critical thinking into existing curriculum, even if a lesson is already prewritten or required by a district. In addition, many of the strategies utilized in Gifted and Talented Education work for the whole class. These are just a few: Blooms Taxonomy Questioning Strategies Cooperative Learning Project-Based Learning Authentic Assessment
Bloom’s Taxonomy Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchy of learning. When generating objectives, focus on the verbs in the student expectation. Those verbs that correlate with a higher level of Bloom’s, naturally invoke a higher level of thinking to execute.
Questioning Strategies Usingsentence stems when asking questions and requiring the students to answer using sentence stems induces scholarly language. It also requires that the students really ponder what it is they want to say (Crawford, 2005).
Cooperative Learning Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy that utilizes the social aspect of school. Students work together and learn from one-another. It involves students in intense reasoning, elaboration, hypothesis forming, and problem-solving activities (Adams, 1996).
Cooperative Learning (cont’d)Discussion Reciprocal Graphic Writing Problem- Teaching Organizers SolvingThink-pair-share: As Note-taking pairs: Poor note- Group grid: Students Dyadic essays: Students Send-a-problem: Studentsprobably the best known taking leads to poor prepare for the in-class participate in a series of performance. Designing an practice organizing and portion of this exercise bycooperative learning classifying information in problem solving rounds, exercise which requires students developing an essayexercise, the think-pair- contributing theirshare structure provides to summarize their understanding a table. A more question and model independently generated of a concept based on notes answer based on assignedstudents with the taken (with directed questions complex version of this reading. In class, students solution to those that haveopportunity to reflect on such as what is the definition of a structure requires exchange essay questions been developed by otherthe question posed and concept, how is it used, what are students to first identify and write a spontaneous groups. After a number of the three most important answer essay. Studentsthen practice sharing and characteristics of a topic) and the classification then pair up, compare and rounds, students are askedreceiving potential receiving reflective feedback scheme that will be contrast the model answer to review the solutionssolutions. from their partner provides used. and the spontaneously developed by their peers, students the opportunity to find generated answer. evaluate the answers and critical gaps in their written Subsequently, questions develop a final solution. records. and answers can be shared with the larger class.Three-step interview: Jigsaw: For more complex Sequence chains: The goal Peer editing: As opposed to Three-stay, one-stray: In thisStudents are first paired problems, this structure provides of this exercise is to provide the editing process that structure, students periodically students the opportunity to often appears only at the take a break from their workand take turns interviewing a visual representation of a develop expertise in one of many final stage of a paper, peer (often at key decision makingeach other using a series components of a problem by first series of events, actions, editing pairs up students at points) and send one groupof questions provided by participating in a group solely roles, or decisions. Students the idea generation stage member to another group tothe instructor. Pairs then focused on a single component. can be provided with the and peers provide describe their progress. The rolematch up and students In the second stage of the items to be organized or feedback throughout the of the group is to gainintroduce their original exercise, groups are reformed asked to first generate these process. For example, the information and alternative with a representative from each relationship begins as each perspectives by listening andpartner. At the end of the based on a predetermined expert group who together now student in the pair sharing. The number of timesexercise, all four students have sufficient expertise to tackle end goal. This structure can describes their topic ideas the group sends ahave had their position or the whole problem. be made more complex by and outlines the structure of representative to anotherviewpoints on an issue having students also identify their work while their group depends on the level ofheard, digested, and and describe the links partner asks questions, and complexity of the problem. Thisdescribed by their peers. between each of the develops an outline based method can also be used to on what is described. report out final solutions. sequenced components. (Barkley, Cross & Major, 2005)
Project Based Learning Project–based learning allows students to explore real-world situations and develop a deeper understanding of the subjects they are studying (Ellis, 2009). Introduction to Project-Based Learning-- Video
Authentic Assessments Using authentic assessments gives a more robust picture of what a student does and does not know. Asking a child to name the three states of matter on a paper-pencil exam will let you know that the child has memorized that fact. However, asking a student to draw an example of each state of matter informs you of the level of understanding of the concept of the states of matter. While this is an elementary example, it speaks to managing complexity and difficulty separately. According to S.M. Brookhart,“Realizing that level of difficulty (easy versus hard) and level of thinking (recall versus higher-order thinking) are two different qualities allows you to use higher order thinking questions with all learners (Brookhart, 2012).”
Authentic Assessments(cont’d) Authentic Assessment examples: Conduction research and writing a report Character analysis Student debates (individual or group) Drawing and writing about a story or chapter Experiments - trial and error learning Journal entries (reflective writing) Discussion partners or groups Student self-assessment Peer assessment and evaluation Presentations Projects Portfolios Tiered learning classrooms ("Types of authentic," 2008)
Example of a Critical ThinkingActivity Group Cooperation Activity An activity that doesnt require much space or special equipment is Marshmallow Architects. Give each group a bag of regular or mini marshmallows and 75 toothpicks. Set a time limit, 7 to 10 minutes, in which the groups must build the largest tower they can, using only marshmallows and toothpicks. At the end of the competition, the winners tower must be freestanding for at least 15 seconds. Have the teams discuss their experiences and observations afterward (Meyer). In the following scenario (slide 15) the activity is enhanced one step further and the parameters of communication are set. Students can not talk while doing this activity. The only means of communication are gestures and written communication. This activity combines critical thinking, cooperative learning, and Blooms Taxonomy since they are tasked with creating a viable structure. The following link provides more Teambuilding Activities and Games: Find more Teambuilding Activities & Games
Conclusion Criticalthinking can be infused into any curriculum, for any level learner. It is the epitome of differentiated instruction without watering down the content. It is important that teachers recognize the value of thinking skills and realize that even elementary age students are capable of far more than is usually expected of them.
References Adams, D. M., & Hamm, M. (1996). Cooperative Learning : Critical Thinking and Collaboration Across the Curriculum. Charles C Thomas. Barkley. , Cross, , & Major (2005). Cooperative learning techniques. Retrieved from http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/cooperative/techniques.html Brookhart, S. M. (2010). How to Assess Higher-order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom. ASCD. Crawford, A. (2005). Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom. International Debate Education Association. Ellis, K. (Producer). (2009). 130share on email36 an introduction to project- based learning. [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-introduction-video King, A. (1995). Critical thinking question stems. Retrieved from http://bama.ua.edu/~sprentic/695 King questions.htm Maas, D. (2012, April 26). linking ipads & bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved from http://maasd.edublogs.org/2012/04/26/linking-ipads-blooms-taxonomy/ Meyer, C. (n.d.). Teambuilding activities & games. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/way_5485067_teambuilding-activities-games.html Types of authentic assessment. (2008, May 14). Retrieved from http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/index.php/Unit_2:_Types_of_Authentic_Assessm ent